Monday, June 7, 2021

The new Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Jutta Brunnée, is resuming the process to fill the position of Director of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP).  

The position remains the same as last year. The search last year identified a preferred candidate. 

By law, the University is required to follow a rigorous process; specifically, the Faculty will be posting advertisements for four consecutive weeks to solicit candidates. A new search committee – chaired by Dean Brunnée – will assess qualifications of Canadian candidates, should any emerge.  

"In the interests of the Faculty and our broader community, we will be moving forward expeditiously, including complying with any required immigration or Canadian work authorization process," said Dean Brunnée.   

"We look forward to filling this role. The IHRP is a key part of our international and experiential offerings and students greatly value the opportunities it provides." 

Under the previous dean, the hiring process was discontinued because, at the time, there was an urgency to fill the role by September 2020; that was not possible with the identified preferred candidate due to immigration and timing issues.  

Now that Professor Emerita Rebecca Cook has agreed to serve as Interim Director until a permanent director has been named, the Faculty of Law can take the time needed to resolve the issue of work authorization and any immigration issues, in accordance with due process and law.  

The resumption of the search is timely and consistent with the commitments the University has made, following the release of the Cromwell Report, and a review of the IHRP by Professor Cook, the founder of the program. 

Dean Brunnée has also conducted an extensive consultation with Faculty on rebuilding collegiality. 

In light of the controversy that followed the discontinuation of the search, the Honourable Thomas Cromwell was commissioned to conduct an independent review to provide a factual narrative of events; determine whether existing policies and procedures were followed, including those relating to academic freedom and confidentiality; and offer advice to the President. Justice Cromwell’s report, submitted March 15, 2021, found no evidence to support the inference that academic freedom had been breached in the hiring process. The President announced that the University had accepted and would implement all the report’s recommendations. 

The IHRP works to enhance the legal protection of existing and emerging international human rights obligations through advocacy, knowledge-exchange and capacity-building initiatives. It provides experiential learning opportunities for students, and legal expertise to civil society. 

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